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BOARD APPROVES NJ TRANSIT’S LOCAL AND COMMUNITY TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM
Includes $47 million for local community shuttles and specialized demand response services
July 11, 2012
NEWARK, NJ — The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today authorized the expenditure of approximately $47 million in federal and state funds to implement local transportation programs for Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13), providing critical transportation for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, the economically-disadvantaged and rural residents.
Each of the programs extends or complements existing NJ TRANSIT services. The programs include:
- Two federal programs called Jobs Access and Reverse Commute and New Freedom Programs, which provide operating and capital assistance for public transportation services identified in Human Services Coordinated Community Transportation Plans developed by each of the 21 counties.
- The State's Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Assistance Program.
- A federal program to purchase vehicles and related equipment for private, non-profit agencies and designated public entities.
- A federal program to provide capital, administrative and operating assistance for public transportation services in small urban and rural areas of New Jersey.
- The Federal Rural Transit Assistance Program, which provides training and technical assistance for small transit operators.
“The $47 million we are allocating is an investment in transportation options that enable thousands of residents to travel more easily around the state,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman James Simpson. “This funding benefits all of the 21 counties, as well as private and non-profit organizations throughout New Jersey.”
“These programs help extend the reach of NJ TRANSIT service in some areas and fill in gaps in service where there is need, offering increased mobility for many New Jersey residents,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director James Weinstein. “By allowing for the development of coordinated, community-based transportation services, the funding provided by these grants helps local programs to better serve senior citizens, people with disabilities and those living in rural areas.”
NJ TRANSIT partners with all 21 New Jersey counties to fund local public transportation programs.
The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today continued this effort by approving the following programs for FY13:
- $22.63 million to operate the state-funded Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Assistance Program.
- $4.74 million for Section 5310 programs, which provide federal funds for the purchase of vehicles and related equipment by private, non-profit agencies and designated public entities.
- $5.06 million for Section 5311 programs, which provide federal funds for capital, administrative and operating assistance for public transportation services in small urban and rural areas of New Jersey.
- $99,090 in federal funding for the Rural Transit Assistance Program, which provides training and technical assistance for small transit operators receiving Section 5310 and 5311 funding.
- $4.94 million for the Jobs Access and Reverse Commute Program, a part of the New Jersey's initiative under which counties provide public transportation services to help residents obtain convenient transportation to employment opportunities.
- $3 million for the New Freedom Program, which provides operating assistance, capital assistance and mobility management planning for transit services that address the needs of persons with disabilities gaining access to employment.
- $7.6 million in other funds passed through to subrecipients.
Below is a summary of the five programs:
New Freedom Program
This program provides funding for capital and operating expenses that support new transportation services beyond those required by the American with Disabilities Act, as well as public transportation alternatives designed to assist individuals with disabilities with accessing transportation services to and from jobs and employment services.
Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Assistance Program
Funded from the Casino Revenue Tax Fund, this program allocates 85 percent of the annual appropriation for distribution by formula among New Jersey’s 21 counties for transportation of citizens and persons with disabilities. The remaining 15 percent is allocated to NJ TRANSIT to provide technical assistance to the counties, to coordinate the program within and among the counties, and for bus and rail accessibility projects.
Section 5310 Program and Grant
Section 5310 of the Federal Transit Act provides funds for states to purchase vehicles for lease to private, non-profit agencies that provide special transit service for senior citizens and people with disabilities. Under the program, federal funds can be used to pay up to 80 percent of the vehicles' cost. Since 1981, more than 1,400 vehicles have been purchased for organizations serving seniors and persons with disabilities throughout the state. Applications for this program are reviewed by a committee and scored based upon specific criteria.
Section 5311 Program and Grant
Section 5311 of the Federal Transit Act provides capital, administrative and operating assistance for public transportation services in small urban and rural areas of New Jersey pursuant to a population-based formula. NJ TRANSIT will disperse the FY13 funds to 16 ongoing services throughout the state.
Since the program's inception in 1979, NJ TRANSIT has provided half of the matching funds for all Section 5311 projects, with recipients providing the other half.
Rural Transit Assistance Program
Through this program, NJ TRANSIT provides training and technical assistance for all community transit providers in New Jersey.
The program allows NJ TRANSIT to continue driver training, as well as provide training and technical assistance for small transit managers, dispatchers, mechanics and other support staff members. NJ TRANSIT works closely with the National Transit Institute at Rutgers University to identify needs and provide workshops and training programs.
Jobs Access and Reverse Commute Program
This program provides funds for operating and capital expenses for transit services that target employment transportation. Through a planning process initiated by the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), applications are solicited and reviewed, then NJ TRANSIT prepares and submits a statewide application for federal funds. The local match for this grant is split among several funding sources, including the New Jersey Department of Human Services and local providers.
About NJ TRANSIT
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 260 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines and through Access Link paratransit service. It is the second largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.